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The Wayward Liar

I open the door to the art room and eagerly scan the inside an hour before class begins. My eyes glide slowly across the silent space to find no teacher, only a lonely student.

“Hi.” I say.

She doesn’t respond. Instead, she stands in the middle of a nearly empty room and sways,back and forth in her short, puffy, dress.

“Hello?” I say, louder this time.

She says nothing but continues to waver in her dress, using long, slender, fingers to manipulate its colorful fabric. Still, she does not stop this as she peers down at her muddy tennis shoes. As her eyes focus on her feet, a flowing curtain of golden hair glides over her shoulder, covering the expression I long to see. She whips herself around and skips so high she almost bounces towards a stack of plastic chairs in the corner of the room.

Her beauty makes me tremble and causes my hands, as well as my sprit, to shake. I watch her intently as she places her selected chair in front of a painting. She finds a way to hang from the chair with her back on the seat and feet over the top edge. I can’t see why she does this, especially when she needs to hold her dress up. I think on this action for a while, until my curiosity compels me to do the same. I then fetch a chair, set it beside her and also hang on it. This attracts her attention.

“This is a strange painting.” She says in a song-like voice.

“Well,” I began, “It looks much better upside down.”

“I know!” She exclaims, “I love it when people see things from a different perspective!”

I smile in unseen agreement as I search for words to fill the silence. My heart pounds and my throat swells up.

“No one likes my perspective.” She sighs, making it impossible for me to reach her.

“Oh.” I say

She wiggles in her seat, sets her body at an angle, and gracefully slides into a sitting position. I’m not sure how she does this. I attempt to follow her flowing actions but I crash to the floor. I lift myself from the ground then rise to my chair. After I do this, she turns in her chair to face me. She draws me in with eyes of blue ice that reveal some mysterious distance within her.

“I’m Delilah Manhattan.” She says taking a strand of hair and twirling it around her fingertips. She frees her cool eyes from mine to focus on her spinning strand of hair.

“I’m Truth Garden.” I say.

She connects her eyes with mine.

“You must not be honest.” She says.

“I am.”

She shakes her head and smiles. A warm, radiant, smile.

“Of course you’re not honest!” She exclaims, “It’s the gift of irony that gives you an advantage! Like Monet who had fading eyesight. His fuzzy, blended, colors added to how beautiful his work is. Everyone said he had a disadvantage but he had an advantage, like you! People think you’re honest but your name helps you lie, doesn’t it?”

I nod in slight discomfort. Compliments always make me uncomfortable.

Delilah stands, tilts her head in thought, and sways her dress in complete wonderment.

“What are you thinking about?” I laugh.

She passes a charming giggle to me.

“I like you Truth. You’re so impossible you can only be a wayward liar.”

“Thanks.”

“Oh, you’re welcome, Truth.”

We fall into silence for the rest of the hour. I don’t think Delilah minds but it makes me anxious.

Second period I’m trapped in a small room with a group of people who come here to learn but hate learning. In an attempt to escape their lack of enthusiasm, I take a desk behind Delilah.

“Alright everyone.” Our teacher says, “Give me your assignments from yesterday.”

Most everyone has their assignment ready except for the student across from Delilah. After a frantic search through her backpack, she looks to Delilah and nods. I watch over Delilah’s shoulder as she scribbles over her own name and replaces it with Delta. She rises from her seat to hand it in. Before she can take two steps forward, I grab her arm. She pauses to stare at me with pleading eyes.

“Is that yours?” I ask, releasing her.

She remains still.

“Delilah.” Delta demands.

“Delilah?” The teacher asks.

She seems not to notice.

“They’re calling for you.” I whisper.

She nods as she hears this.

The teacher marches toward her.

“I’ll take this.” He says plucking it from her hands.

Delilah weaves her way around him and into the hall.

I snatch my pen and notebook from my desk and follow her. I loose sight of her for a moment, but I find her at the end of the hallway. She sits on the steps with her head in her hands and elbows on her knees. I take a seat next to her and slide the pen and notebook onto her lap. She frees herself from her stance to look at me.

“How did you know?” She asks.

“I guessed.” I say.

“How?”

“I use the same thing sometimes. I guess scribbling things can be kind of relieving.”

“That’s nice.” She whispers almost to herself.

She flips to the last page of the notebook.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

She bows her head, letting her hair hang across her face.

“Truth,” She says, “It’s hard for anyone to understand why I crossed my name out but it was for my sister. I feel lost sometimes because I’m not very good at school and I don’t want her to be lost like me.”

I shake my head. “If it means anything.” I draw, “I think you’re the only one who isn’t lost.”

She straightens herself on the step.

“Truth,” She says brushing the hair from her face, “ I think we could fall in love.”

My body freezes as I try to reprocess her voice.

“Please, Truth.”

I want to tell her I’ve know her for three hours, which makes this a terrible idea, but the answer comes out as something else entirely.

“Yes.” I say

She hands me the notebook, which is still on the last page. I take it from her and examine the page for a moment. When I look beside myself to ask her why she left the page blank, I see she has gone. My pen has gone with her.



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